10 Best Chinese Dramas

Tuesday, March 1 by Annette Smith

These 10 best Chinese dramas run the gamut from action-adventure films to romantic comedies to autobiographical tales. Like Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese dramas, Chinese dramas are immensely popular in Asia and throughout the world.

With film titles listed in alphabetical order, here is an introduction to Chinese drama. All movies were either produced or filmed in China and feature a theme focused on Chinese people, places, or history.

  1. “Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress.” “Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress” is a 2002 drama based on Dai Sijie’s autobiographical novel. The story tells of two teenage boys sent for re-education in the mountains, who fall in love with the village tailor’s granddaughter. The film stars Starring Xun Zhou, Kun Chen, and Ye Liu.
  2. “China Cry: A True Story.” “China Cry: A True Story” is a 1990 Chinese drama set in the 1950s, during the rise of communism in China. This Christian-themed movie is based on the true story of Sung Neng Yee, a woman who faces severe hardship and misery as she attempts to take her family to freedom. The film stars Julia Nickson, France Nuyen, and James Shigeta.
  3. “Chinese Box.” “Chinese Box” is a 1997 romantic drama starring Jeremy Irons, Li Gong, and Maggie Cheung. The movie is set in Hong Kong from New Year’s Day to the summer of 1997, when the British turned over their colony to the People’s Republic of China.
  4. “Chinese Chocolate.” “Chinese Chocolate” is a 1995 Chinese drama starring Yan Cui, Diana Pang, and James Purcell. It’s a tale of two very different women, a dancer and a doctor, who journey west to Canada to follow their dreams.
  5. “Chinese Hercules.” “Chinese Hercules” is a 1973 action drama starring Bolo Yeung, Fan Chiang, and Yeh Fang. The film centers on a martial arts fighter, haunted by his past. Vowing never to fight again, he takes a job in a small village, where his resolve to sto fighting is put to the test.
  6. “The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness.” “The Inn Of The Sixth Happiness” is a classic movie starring Ingrid Bergman, Curd Juergens, and Robert Donat. The 1958 film is loosely based on the life of Gladys Aylward, a British missionary in China.
  7. “Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan.” “Intimate Confessions Of A Chinese Courtesan” is a 1972 drama starring Lily Ho, Hua Yueh, and Betty Pei Ti. The movie, an erotic cult classic, is one of China’s wildest and most famous martial arts films.
  8. “Mountain Patrol.” “Mountain Patrol” is a 2004 Chinese drama based on the true story of a group of volunteers determined to protect antelope from poachers in the mountains of Tibet. The film stars Zhang Lei, Duobuji, and Liang Qi.
  9. “Red Cliff.” “Red Cliff” is a 2008 Chinese action drama revolving around a battle fought during China’s Three Kingdoms period. The movie stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Takeshi Kaneshiro, and Fengyi Zhang.
  10. “Secret Of Chinese Kung Fu.” “Secret Of Chinese Kung Fu” is a 1977 action drama featuring Lieh Lo, Ling Ling Hsia, and Lung Sze Ma. After two sisters save a martial arts teacher from drowning, he teaches them to defend their village against the local thugs.
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